Conservative Leadership Project: Hoosier Hysteria Exposes GOP Fault Lines

Barb Wire

Note: In response to our recent open letter to the conservative movement, we continue “The Conservative Leadership Project” here at CR, a series of articles that will first look to answer why we lose, and then come up with a plan for us to win.

Playing out in Indiana right now is the very internal struggle that could determine if the Republican Party has a viable future, or if it will go the way of the Whigs.

Standing on one side of the fork in the road is a huge number of conservatives and libertarians who still believe the Constitution means what it says. That our rights come from “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” and cannot be redefined or dictated to by any human entity — most of all government.

These are the people that rallied to the defense of Indiana when it became the 20th state to pass a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” A bill that simply reaffirms the original intent of the First Amendment, and frankly in a constitutional republic shouldn’t be necessary in the first place since we already have a Bill of Rights.

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Standing on the other side of the fork in the road is the vast majority of the elected officials within the Republican Party. Politicians who all-too-often turn on the very people that put them there, in order to appease the latest contrived hysteria cooked up by those that would never support Republicans in the first place. For reasons varying from gutlessness to fecklessness, they are often the best friends the Democrats have.

For the sake of this conversation, Indiana’s top three Republicans represent this faction — Governor Mike Pence, Speaker Brian Bosma, and Senate President David Long, although the latter two seem far prouder of it. After working together to protect religious liberty, these three have now decided to throw religious liberty under the bus altogether. Apparently when Marxists attack the Constitution it needs “clarifying.”

Allow me to translate what “clarifying” means when used by the GOP surrender caucus: Figure out how fast we can betray our oaths of office, as well as our own base. Thus, Indiana is poised to go from esteeming the Constitution, to now becoming a state where an atheist can demand a Christian bake a “piss Christ” cake, and an anti-Semite can demand a Jewish baker make a cake with a swastika on it.

Because, big tent or something.

See, Republicans like this Hoosier State Trio continue to be amazed there really are opponents of our way of life — and they’re even running the other political party. That’s why when it’s easy, these Republicans do the right thing. But as soon as the Marxist Progressives on the Left contrive their next hysteria thinly disguised as opposition, they immediately look for the closest jar to place their manly parts.

Pence, in particular, has committed what amounts to political hari kari here. He already stood up for the bill on national television, against Democrat-operative-pretending-to-be-journalist George Stephanopoulos, no less. Every single 2016 GOP presidential candidate, including establishment proxy Jeb Bush, has stood up for him in the past 24 hours. Much of the conservative/liberty movement had come to his defense. He had already withstood the worst of the hysteria, and was poised to become the hero of the story. Now he has self-eliminated any chances of realizing his presidential ambitions.

While many of us rightfully celebrated the historic election win voters handed the GOP a mere five months ago, that may turn out to be the worst thing that ever happened to the Republican Party. That’s because all the fig leaves (lame excuses) used to justify why the party leadership almost never fights for the base have now been ripped from their nether regions, and left exposed is a shameful nakedness.

As Philip Klein just wrote in The Washington Examiner:

This cautious strategy will create a problem if Republicans have little to show their base after sweeping victories in 2014. Republicans responded by passing legislation that punted any fight…until the New Year, when the new Congressional GOP majorities would supposedly be in a better position to confront Obama. But in the end, they did not…Republican leaders are going to have to deliver some clear wins to conservatives.

GOP leadership is rapidly removing any reasons for a conservative to vote Republican, let alone remain one. We’re pretty much down to which brand of treachery do you prefer? The Democrats’ outright lawlessness, or the Republicans pretending to fight it while funding it anyway?

Do Republicans not understand that without religious liberty, its sizable Christian base will not be free to participate fully in the political process at all? Do Republicans not understand that if its Christian base is successfully marginalized, it will also severely hinder their own efforts to win elections? Have Republicans now reached the point they hate their own base so much they’d rather lose elections than do what we sent them there to do?

If Republicans are not even willing to fight for fundamental issues of an existential nature on behalf of a majority of the party’s base, then elections really are nothing more than dueling vested interests fighting for control of our money. If that’s the case, then I suspect we will hear from many more conservatives like the caller who was on “The Mike Church Show” on Sirius/XM right before my interview began Monday morning.

After noting how Republicans haven’t done anything they promised to do before the election, the frustrated caller asked a very simple yet direct question.

“What’s the point of continuing to vote Republican,” he asked.

We’re running out of good answers to that question.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Steve Deace
Steve Deace is one of the "Heavy Hundred" talk show hosts in America according Talkers Magazine. His influence in the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses has been profiled in much of the national media, and he's also a columnist for The Washington Times. His new book, out now and endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders, is titled Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.

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